October through December 2006
October 2 thru October 8
Well this was energy source week. We started by getting power installed on Monday. It has been a long time coming since our request in June but it is here now. Now the line to our cabin is ~100ft instead of the ~800ft from the KAGV tranmitter building, so we can use a space heater with a thermostat (the high current wouldn't function well on the extra long wire). What a big difference temperature control makes!
The next major energy development was the arrival of our heating oil tank. We hope to get it filled today. This 500 gallon tank should hold enough fuel for more than half of our winter heat. Here you can see the fixtures and lines we installed so that it can be filled and deliver fuel to the boiler.

Speaking of the boiler, that is what most of our weekend work was centered around. Getting the 600lb boiler in place was a major undertaking but it is now in place and connected to the chimney and the oil tank. The plumbing to distribute the hot water around the house is more than halfway complete. Here you can see Kristan helping out soldering the copper manifolds between shifts of drywall work.

October 9 thru October 15
Most of our work on the house this week was focused on the boiler system. We managed to get all of the loops/zones plumbed, pressure tested and filled. This was a lot of progress but when it came to fire up the burner in the boiler, we discovered an air leak in the fuel line. We hope to install a cutoff valve and an anti-siphon device on the oil lines to complete the design but we were hoping to fire the system up before these additions. Due to the unpleasantness and enduring odor of working with this heating oil (Diesel No 1) we are waiting until all of these parts can be aquired before re-visiting these oil lines to eliminate the air leak.

A development worthy of note regarding our work at the radio station is that the two of us have started a new web page for our radio station. You might want to click here to check out the new web site. We now have our hourly weather update audio available. Kristan's weather reports are available during her afternoon shift and usually through the night (Monday thru Thursday). Dave Horning's weather reports can be heard during his morning shifts and on the weekends.

October 16 thru October 23
We have heat! Praise our Lord! A basic engineering principle I learned in my very first engineering class at OSU was the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). As you can see in the pictures, the boiler system is not simple. It took a number of reworks to iron out the minor leaks simply because there are so many joints. Most importantly we now have reliable heat. The radiant heat in our concrete is quite comfortable and the building holds its heat well.

After getting heat, keeping heat became our next priority. The cold 20 degree temperatures we have had are a stern reminder that snow will be here soon. The chimney needs protection from the snow so that sliding snow will not knock it down. After quite a bit of waiting for a safe opportunity we had a rain free day that was above freezing. We got up on the roof with freshly scrubbed boots(for extra traction) and installed both the chimney braces and the sno-brakes. The sno-brakes hold the snow on the roof so it won't slide off while still allowing rain flow.

With heat available we are back to working on the interior. Now that we can keep pipes from freezing, Karl is now concentrating on plumbing, here you can see the tub drain getting hooked up. Kristan did some drywall work and then started the continuation of the foam insulation in the pantry and the kitchen.

October 24 thru October 29
Walking in a Winter Wonderland! Well almost walking. This week we received several inches of snow.

After our playtime, we did manage to get some work done. Karl put the finishing touches on the indoor plumbing and Kristan was able to check for leaks using the dishsoap method.

To make a long story short, after tracking down some leaks, we were able to get indoor plumbing going and running water. This allowed Karl to install a temporary toilet. We feel like we have graduated to normal life. Good bye poly-john, hello flushable, warm-seated, in-door toilet!

October 30 thru November 5
The arrival of the snow has really transformed things. It is -10 deg F this morning at 9:00AM. The moon is setting in the North-West and the sun is getting ready to come up to the South-East. The full moon we are experiencing really provides quite a bit of light in the night.

Our work on the house this weekend was some pretty instensive drywall. We finished hanging the board on the three rooms and the hallway. We also got the first coat of mud on for all of these rooms. The progress is encouraging.

While we were inside in our cozy well-heated home, some "neighbors" decided to take a stroll through our back yard. What a cool view from the guest bedroom. We are blessed to live here!

November 6 thru November 12
With morning temperatures averaging -10deg, we need to have engine heaters to protect our car and truck when starting them in the cold. This weekend we finally caught up in this area. We also swapped the winter tires onto our truck. Both of these things give some extra peace of mind.

The drywall is still coming along. This weekend we sanded the first coat of mud and applied the second coat. Also we finished hooking up the outdoor lights. With the moon, mentioned last week, rising later and later each day, the additional illumination is definitely a plus.

At times it can seem lonely here, nothing is better for loneliness than visits from friends. Brian Blair(station manager for our sister station KIAM, Nenana) is visiting for the board meetings that we will be part of today and we got to "show" him around our house. We also had a surprise visit from Rod who came with a Westwood Baptist work crew this summer. No winter visit is complete without a snowmobile ride. Karl and Rod rode out to this abandoned homesteader cabin in the woods behind our lot that Karl had found earlier.

November 13 thru November 19
Many prayers were answered this week with a very productive board meeting. Thank you for praying for this ministry. Here we are as we recorded Christmas greetings for our listeners.

Karl's eye was injured (and is now healing fine) last week under the cars, so this week we chose not to continue with the drywall and all the dust that entails. Instead we worked on insulating the rim joists. This is the area between the basement and the main floor. The walls upstairs and the walls in the basement are both insulated but we still needed to to insulated the outside walls between floors.

This weekend we also got some recreation in. We had picked up some used ice skates this week and we got to try them out on our pond. It was a lot of fun and some good exercise. We both went to bed with sore leg muscles and slept well.

November 20 thru November 26
We spent this week up North in Nenana. Kristan covered some airshifts on Thanksgiving allowing the staff to get together for Thanksgiving meal. Karl did a little work outside with Rob, getting the big snow blade attached to the grader. The temperatures of -5F are quite different from the -35F when working outside. Together at the station for Thanksgiving we got quite a bit done around the KIAM station. We really enjoyed getting together with our partners in Nenana. On Sunday we headed back home taking with us some doors and a generator. We hope to hook the generator up to the studio building so that we can keep broadcasting through power outages.

November 27 thru December 3
Back down south at KAGV, this week we are the only ones here at the radio station since Dave has a week of vacation. Kristan took all of the airshifts, while Karl's week was more regular, fixing things such as the generator we brought back from Nenana.

We got our second big snowfall of the year. This means, you guessed it, more shovelling. The physical activity is exhillirating even if the quantity of snow is overwhelming.

Well it has been a while but this Saturday we finally got back to working on the house. Two sandings and one more coat of mud and we are finally done with the tape and mud work on our first three rooms.

With the mud done it was time for texture. It really feels like progress. Soon we will be painting and moving into the final stretch for these rooms.

December 4 thru December 10
We got primer and the first coat of paint on this weekend. One more top coat to go and we can start working on flooring!

December 11 thru December 17
On a weeknight we finished that last top coat of paint and that meant we got to do flooring this weekend. All the drywall work and painting had left quite a mess so we started by vacuuming, scraping and vacuuming. Then to get a smooth surface for the vinyl we put down underlayment.

The next step was cutting the vinyl appropriately and gluing down the vinyl in the guest bathroom and the laundry room. The rush to get all the glue down and then roll out all the air bubbles before things setup while not stepping in the glue took a little bit of planning and acrobatics.

The laminate flooring in the guest bedroom was kind of fun to install once we had the right tools, figured out the basic rules and figured out a routine.

December 18 thru December 25
This week was spent preparing to go North to Nenana where we would provide Christmas coverage for the KIAM staff, make some technical upgrades and head out to the village of McGrath to complete a translator installation. We have a setup at KAGV to test and prepare translator equipment before sending it out for installation. Here you can see Dave and Karl aiming a satellite dish at the IAM Radio Network satellite. After an adventurous drive North we were able to be part of the Christmas Eve program at Anderson North Star Baptist Church. Here three of the Blair children play a special with their father.

Christmas day was full of "Mukluk Messages". These are messages to KIAM listeners that are called in and then broadcast on KIAM. Normally there are 1 to 3 messages to go out but on Christmas it is difficult to fit them all in the 20 minute time slot we have to air them. Here Karl is editing down the messages removing "and uhms", lengthy pauses and mispeaks in order to air as many messages as possible. Kristan enjoyed working Christmas day and getting to be part of delivering so many messages from Christmas well wishers. Karl has set up the automation to post these "Mukluk Messages" to the web regularly. You can listen in on KIAM mukluks here.

December 26 thru January 1
While still working on KIAM technical updates, most of this last week has been focused on preparing for the trip to McGrath to complete the translator there. We are still waiting for good weather so we can fly out. Friday we didn't get to go to McGrath so we took this opportunity to go on a snowmobile trip with Rob and Rick. Kristan's new hat (many thanks to Yumi Taylor) kept Kristan plenty warm in spite of the near 0deg F temperature as we travelled ~ 15 miles out into the mountain wilderness. We welcomed 2007 with some fireworks out near the KIAM tower site.